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It's funny.  Laugh. Government Politics

House Dems Turn Out the Lights On the GOP 1143

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the not-quite-like-throwing-a-blanket-over-the-birdcage dept.
Politico is reporting that while GOP leaders opposed a motion to adjourn the House, the Democrats have closed up shop and even turned out the lights. While the lights and microphones have since been turned back on, it makes for an amusing mental image and possibly even a few dark YouTube video spoofs. "Only about a half-dozen Republicans were on the floor when this began, but the crowd has grown to about 20 now, according to Patrick O'Connor. 'This is the people's House,' Rep, Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) said. 'This is not Pelosi's politiburo.' Democratic aides were furious at the GOP stunt, and reporters were kicked out of the Speaker's Lobby, the space next to the House floor where they normally interview lawmakers."
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House Dems Turn Out the Lights On the GOP

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:38PM (#24437855)

    It's great that C-SPAN covers kindergarten now.

    • by philspear (1142299) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:03PM (#24438389)

      At least they're not engaging in fisticuffs.

      like they did around the civil war
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston_Brooks#Sumner_Assault [wikipedia.org]

      and again in 1902:
      http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Senate_Fistfight.htm [senate.gov]

      Or like they do in Bolivia:
      http://www.blinkx.com/video/fist-fight-in-bolivia-congress/BUTRtHbu7LQxO1wF [blinkx.com]

      And we can at least be glad no one got shot by the vice president.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston_Brooks#Sumner_Assault [wikipedia.org]

      Er... uh... well, rather at least no one was MURDERED by the vice president in this instance.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PhreakOfTime (588141)

      Well, unfortunately, these people are REPRESENTING a certain portion of our population. Its not mature, no, but this is the behavior certain groups of people have chosen to reward.

      Its simply a reflection of the place this country has become. Somehow, that when everything doesnt go exactly the way you want it, the only available option is to complain and point at the other guy for being 'at fault'.

      Take a situation for example, of a company who is involved in quite a few small claims, and arbitration case

  • by stinerman (812158) <nathan,stine&gmail,com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:41PM (#24437901) Homepage

    I'm missing the story other than Boehner and gang are trying to make a fuss about nothing.

    The motion to adjourn passed, so the Speaker banged the gavel and they went home. Am I supposed to think that the Democrats are somehow disregarding the rules of the House and refusing to let Republicans speak?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
      Exactly. Robert's Rules of Order [wikipedia.org], do you speak it motherfucker?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Egdiroh (1086111)
        Yup, that's why congress didn't actually meet until 1876 when those were finally published.

        A lot of the stupid shit we go through in the US, are because of things that were thought to be understood by all and were thus left unspecified.So while those might be understood by some to be the rules (and really it is the rules that the authoring of the book was an attempt to codify, that are understood to be the rules), since they are not officially the rule they will be ignored whenever convenient.

        But I do
    • by WinPimp2K (301497) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:56PM (#24438259)

      Yep, you missed the story.

      When the motion to adjourn was made, over 100 Republicans were signed up to speak for 5 minutes each on oil/energy. The Dems abused the rules (and yes the Republicans do this too, but not nearly as much) in an attempt to prevent those folks from speaking. Now some (most) of those Republicans were undoubtably (Sturgeon's Law) going to be an utter waste of their 5 minutes.

      What you do is ask how often does the Speaker order the lights, microphones, and cameras shut down when the House adjourns? (C-SPAN is contracturally required to carry whatever is being said in the House regardless of whether or not it is in session).

      So I'm not going to tell you what to think, but what I plainly observed was the Dems gaming the system (the rules of the House) to prevent the Republicans from speaking. When it comes to gaming the system, the donkeys in both House and Senate have shown far less restraint than the elephants. (Or would you prefer Red vs Blue?)

      • by Woundweavr (37873) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:14PM (#24438623)

        You've a great deal of unfounded claims there.

        The Dems abused the rules (and yes the Republicans do this too, but not nearly as much) in an attempt to prevent those folks from speaking. ...
        When it comes to gaming the system, the donkeys in both House and Senate have shown far less restraint than the elephants.

        This was not an abuse of rules, nor would any reasonable observer claim the Democratic Party members have "abused" the rules as aggressively (nor broken as many) as the Republicans who control the House for the previous 12 years. Simply adjourning - which cuts off formal floor debate inherently - is not comparable to changing bills after they had been passed, holding votes open longer than permissible or the abusive use of holds (in the Senate). Your claims to the contrary are transparently partisan.

        What you do is ask how often does the Speaker order the lights, microphones, and cameras shut down when the House adjourns? (C-SPAN is contracturally required to carry whatever is being said in the House regardless of whether or not it is in session).

        I know Congress has a deserved reputation for wasting money, but somehow I don't think they keep all the microphones, cameras and lights on in the months they spend adjourned. And C-Span is not contractually required to carry what is being said in the House regardless of whether or not its in session; you invented that out of whole cloth. They frequently don't show House debate - for instance if there is a major political story or an important House committee meeting. To make such a suggestion implies an almost total lack of familiarity with the channel.

        The Ds adjourned. They didn't let the Republicans control the agenda. Boo-hoo. The House is designed for majority rule and the Republicans should get used to it since few 'experts' think they'll have more than 200 members next term.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Skye16 (685048)

        Didn't the elephants lock the donkeys out at one point a few years ago, before the donkeys amassed new forces and re-asserted dominion over the barn?

        Maybe those donkeys do keep the elephants from talking more often, but it seems that this was in direct reaction to the last time the elephants did some crazy shit with their power.

        Of course, the whole fucking thing is ludicrous. Only a fool would think that the donkeys will be the majority forever, and they're going to get it right back, again, and probably m

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:03PM (#24438387)
      Apparently Republicans have forgotten that they're in the minority now (an easy mistake to make, considering how Democrats have spent most of the last two years on their knees). Republicans have also apparently forgot how THEY treated Democrats when they were the majority (forcing them out of hearings, refusing to debate bills, shutting down Democratic filibusters, etc.)
    • Oh the irony... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:30PM (#24438989)

      If the Republicans cut off debate on the Democrats and went home for vacation, I can guarantee you that this story would have been about the Republicans censoring the Democrats.

      • Maybe you're not aware of it, but from the mid 90s to 2006, there's all kinds of shut-out stories of precisely the kind you're talking about -- the Republican party didn't episodically decide to shut the Dems out, there was a concerted effort and plan for marginalizing them as fully as possible. Take a listen to Act III of This American Life's Houses of Ill Repute [thislife.org] episode if you're interested in some perspective.

        Personally, I don't recall stories during that time period about how the Republicans were censoring the Democrats, but perhaps, since you have *guaranteed* that it would be covered in that manner, you can put up some examples.

  • That's not all! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:42PM (#24437921)

    The summary didn't state everything. Pelosi was trying to stop a vote concerning foreign oil drilling. The REP's are currently mad and speaking to the public who have gathered in the upstairs gallery, arguing (one-sided, of course) their concerns and solutions for rising gas and energy prices.

  • by jamie (78724) * Works for Slashdot <jamie@slashdot.org> on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:42PM (#24437927) Journal

    What actually happened, of course, was that the House adjourned for its August recess. As scheduled. Just like it does every year. Presumably it was scheduled months in advance. Everyone knew it.

    Except this time the minority party refused to, you know, leave. Though the government is not in session, the Republicans insist on hanging around anyway.

    Why? Not to get any work done. They're sticking around in the hopes of getting some press simply for being stupid.

    It may work. If the Democrats did this, the media would be happy to portray them as whiny little losers who didn't know when to go home. (Which would basically be accurate.)

    But since it's Republicans doing it, the media -- including Slashdot, in this case -- will find amusement in what the Dems "did" to the GOP. Politico, which is generally an organ of the Republican Party, is true to form by calling Democrats "furious" and "complaing" [sic]. Slashdot says the Dems "turned out the lights on" them and giggles that the Democrats left even though "GOP leaders opposed a motion to adjourn." (It doesn't matter what "GOP leaders" wanted. The motion to adjourn passed. So the House adjourned. Learn 2 parliamentary procedure, noobs.)

    Calling the House a "politburo" (meaning "the policymaking committee of a Communist party") because it adjourned on schedule is -- and here I have to agree with the Democrat who was quoted -- moronic.

    And the issue the GOP is demagoguing is gasoline prices and offshore drilling. This pushes today's stunt from ridiculous to pathetic. The Department of Energy's official projection [nytimes.com] is that if offshore drilling were legalized immediately, "any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant" -- even in 2030.

    And that's an inflated stat, since its numbers include hypothetical drilling off the coast of California. The GOP is pushing to allow states to allow OCS drilling if they choose -- "states' rights," as the slogan goes. And California's politicians, including its Republican governor, have made it clear the state will not allow more drilling off its coast. So the actual benefit of the current GOP proposal would be about 2/3 of the DoE's hypothetical. In 2030 :)

    It's hard to believe that the Republicans would hang around a vacated government building after everyone's gone home, and yell into a bullhorn about how Congress needs to debate lower gas prices right now -- not in September! -- when Bush's own Department of Energy admits any changes would have zero effect on oil prices for 9 years and "insignificant" effect after that.

    The GOP's twitter feed [twitter.com] indicates their dogma du jour is: "drill here drill now to get us through the next 10 to 15 years." Again, the DoE's projections indicate zero effect on oil production or prices for the next 9 years, and "insignificant" effect after that.

    It's unbelievable how pathetic our national politics has become. This embarrassment is why we need the grownups back in charge. And every media outlet that fails to make clear why the stunt is pathetic is part of the problem. Sadly, I include Slashdot in this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "complaing" [sic]

      Heh, a Slashdot editor picking on others' spelling.

    • Protest (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DesScorp (410532)

      This may have been a "stunt", but it's politics. You act like this stuff never happens. The whole thing was done to protest the Democrats' plan of adjourning the Congress so that there would be no more calls on the House floor to open up oil expoloration, something that, despite your opinion on the matter, the public overwhelmingly supports. Pelosi's idea was, no session, no cameras, no problem. She figures the issue will hurt Democrats less if no one actually speaking about it in Congress. And be honest, i

      • Re:Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

        by stinerman (812158) <nathan,stine&gmail,com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:30PM (#24439001) Homepage

        The whole thing was done to protest the Democrats' plan of adjourning the Congress so that there would be no more calls on the House floor to open up oil expoloration, something that, despite your opinion on the matter, the public overwhelmingly supports.

        The public is wrong. The price of crack has gone up and instead of trying to get off, they're demanding increased supply.

        The motion to adjourn passed? Of course it did. Right along party lines.

        Yeah, that tends to happen in the House, where the majority tends to do whatever it wants. In the Senate, the minority has more rights. And your party has played the Senate rules and Harry Reid like a fiddle. Seriously and with no sarcasm, well done. If the Democrats had 1% of the balls your guys have, we'd have never been in Iraq. THAT would have kept oil prices down.

        What's the approval rating of Congress now? 9 percent?

        Mostly because the Democrats promised all sorts legislation on which they couldn't deliver. Again, your party has done a good job of using the Senate rules to keep popular Democratic bills from getting passed. Republicans know most people don't care (or even know) about cloture motions or other arcane parliamentary procedures. All your average person knows is that Democrats promised they'd fix everything the Republicans screwed up and they're not doing it.

        The Democrats "Dogma Du Jour" is you people are just going to have to do with less and pay more for it. I'll take our position over yours all day long.

        I wish they had the balls to say that. The American people need to be told the score without any fluff. The age of cheap oil is over and it's going to take some sacrifice to get our economy switched over to renewables. We can't drill our way out of this even if we wanted to. India and China took our advice and liberalized their economies which made them a competitor for the same oil we are using.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:55PM (#24438253)

      You didn't need to cheapen your post with the silly, biased commentary.

      "It may work. If the Democrats did this, the media would be happy to portray them as whiny little losers who didn't know when to go home. (Which would basically be accurate.)

      But since it's Republicans doing it, the media -- including Slashdot, in this case -- will find amusement in what the Dems "did" to the GOP."

      Seriously? You think the media and slashdot have republican bias?

    • by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:57PM (#24438279)
      Maybe when the country is headed full-force into a recession, it's not time for a 5-week vacation when there are laws to be passed. It's time to roll up the sleeves and get to work. The United States isn't ok right now. It's fragile and crumbling. Those elected officials want to spend their August kicking up their shoes when unemployment is at an all-time high?

      The Republicans are acting childish. It reminds me of what I would see in highschool when the teachers would strike -- but the Democrats are running away from the problems that need to be solved. It's their job, and it's not done yet, so they deserve no recess in August, no matter how long they've planned it. This isn't a retail job at Wal-mart where the company will be ok if one worker leaves for 6 weeks.

      But after everything is said and done, after seeing at least 4 major laws passed that grossly violate the constitution in the last 2 weeks, it's almost a reprieve to see them out for a few weeks. The only reason I'm sure they don't use the constitution as toilet paper is because some of them would actually read if that were the case.
    • by sycodon (149926)

      any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant
      zero effect on oil production or prices for the next 9 years

      It's ths kind of thinking, or lack of it, that got us into this problem in the first place. You folks can't think 6 inches in front of your dicks. IF it does take that long to get production started, then GET THE FUCK STARTED ON IT!

      And despite the drugs you are on, if the situation was reversed, then ABCCBSNBCMSNBCCNN would have folks up there covering it like flys on horse crap.

  • by NiceGeek (126629) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:42PM (#24437931)

    Yawn...."Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi's refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m. and are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess."

    What a load. Even if the offshore drilling is allowed it will be many years before we see any benefit from it (assuming that prices actually go down) More corporate welfare from the Repubs.

    • by rossz (67331) <ogre&geekbiker,net> on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:48PM (#24438069) Homepage Journal

      Even if the offshore drilling is allowed it will be many years before we see any benefit from it

      That was their excuse ten years ago. It would take ten years to see any benefit, so why bother?

      • by NiceGeek (126629) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:49PM (#24438095)

        Then I guess the vote could wait a few weeks without the economy imploding yes?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RingDev (879105)

        They already have millions of leased acres ready for drilling, why don't they just utilize those resources instead of gaining leases on more land that they wont be able to drill for another 5-15 years?

        Oh that's right, Exxon-Mobile just turned an $11 BILLION dollar profit in the last quarter.

        The off shore drilling package from the GOP is nothing more than pandering to the uninformed masses while ensuring campaign financing from companies of the most profitable industry in the history of the United States.

        -Ri

        • by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:14PM (#24438625)
          You're expressing the WORST argument for not drilling. Oil companies know better than ANYONE precisely how much it costs to get a drop out of the ground. Do you really think they would be pushing to drill in other areas if drilling where they already have leases were cost effective - particularly at the pace prices have been growing for the past 3 years?

          Do you REALLY think that those "evil" oil companies just want to be mean to everyone and run rampant and pillage? They're out to make the most cost-effective dollar by drilling for oil.

          Think about it this way - they AREN'T drilling on those leases because they WON'T make any money doing it....and I would trust their word on how much money they make off of oil than yours, unless you're some sort of petro-economic engineering expert.
      • by jayveekay (735967) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:06PM (#24438453)

        The value of crude oil has gone up considerably in the last 10 years. All the oil that was not pumped out of the ground under the U.S. and burned in the last decade is now much more valuable, and if you can avoid pumping and burning it for another 10 years then it will be still more valuable.

        Given that Americans are handing huge bills to future generations, including a $10 trillion debt and another $80 trillion in unfunded liabilities (Medicare, Social Security), it is nice that some valuable resources can be passed on too. It is unfortunate that many Americans seem to think "If we don't drill and burn this crude oil now, *I* won't benefit from it! Drill Drill Drill, Burn Burn Burn! It's MY crude oil and I want to BURN it NOW!"

        • by Solandri (704621) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:26PM (#24438909)

          (Ignoring for the moment the environmental aspect of burning oil.)

          It's only an appreciating asset up to the point where we develop alternative energy technologies that make it obsolete, as we're clamoring to do. Then it becomes as worthless as whale oil. Well, maybe not quite that worthless, since it'll still find a use in plastics manufacturing, but that only accounts for 5% of current oil consumption.

    • Even if the offshore drilling is allowed it will be many years before we see any benefit from it...

      And you guys have been saying that for many years. That's why we couldn't fix the problem back then too. Now, many years later, it is not fixed.

      More corporate welfare from the Repubs.

      Translation: "Americans can't have cheaper gas because some corporation might make some money. It's worth it to have poor people suffer just so you can stick it to those nasty corporations."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by amRadioHed (463061)

        The point is that more drilling isn't a fix. More drilling in the US will provide a relatively small amount of oil which will delay our energy problems for months, maybe a few years at best.

        The Republicans are putting on a show today because it looks good to the unwashed masses, but getting their drilling won't solve our energy problems.

        • Unwashed Masses? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:22PM (#24438805) Homepage Journal

          "The point is that more drilling isn't a fix. More drilling in the US will provide a relatively small amount of oil which will delay our energy problems for months, maybe a few years at best."

          More drilling alone isn't a fix by itself, but it's patently stupid and dishonest to say that more oil in the supply line won't help prices.

          "The Republicans are putting on a show today because it looks good to the unwashed masses, but getting their drilling won't solve our energy problems."

          I notice that, to liberals, when the issue is liberal and popular with Americans, then they're a great and wise people, righteous in their anger at the Republicans. But when the issue is conservative and supported by Americans, they're stupid unwashed masses.

          If you were really concerned about us solving our energy problems, you'd actually let us solve them. We've got plenty of ways to do it... more drilling, more shale, more coal to gasoline, more nuclear... liberals just don't like those options. What you're really mad about is that we won't do it your way... with nothing but biofuels and electric cars.

  • by eviloverlordx (99809) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:43PM (#24437937)

    'This is the lobbyists' House,'

    I think that's closer to what he was trying to say.

  • by Legion_SB (1300215) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:43PM (#24437941) Homepage
    GOP: "We must protect this House!"
  • by clonan (64380) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:43PM (#24437945)

    As I recall in 2003 the GOP chair of a committee refused to allow the Democratic members of the committe to speak, ignored a motion to continue the hearing and stormed off WITH the gavel in hand...all this beacuse the dems wanted to call some witnesses for testimony.

    I forget the details but google knows all.

    • by Insightfill (554828) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:13PM (#24438611) Homepage

      As I recall in 2003 the GOP chair of a committee refused to allow the Democratic members of the committe to speak, ignored a motion to continue the hearing and stormed off WITH the gavel in hand...all this beacuse the dems wanted to call some witnesses for testimony.

      Ah, yes. That was quite an event. Check wiki [wikipedia.org] for the June 17th event where it happened. There was also a case where the Dems held an 'unofficial' gathering which was so unofficial that they couldn't use any titles, such as 'chairman', as the GOP held the majority then. Regardless, Jim S. crashed that party and pulled the same stunt. Still looking for the story of the second case.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:47PM (#24438061) Homepage Journal
    wait until you see the singapore or korean parliament footages. circus doesnt describe it.

    even in turkish parliament there has been a lot of fights, and one representative was killed even, by a stray fist landing unintendedly.
  • Well, (Score:4, Funny)

    by danzona (779560) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:51PM (#24438143)
    I for one welcome our new Republican overlords... wait a minute
  • by swschrad (312009) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:54PM (#24438229) Homepage Journal

    all it is is flames in both directions. we have more important things to discuss. like, for instance, goatse.cx

  • on topic? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by owlnation (858981) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:03PM (#24438373)
    News for Nerds... er, ok.. how is this?

    Were the lights turned off by robot running linux?

    Seriously editors, the best way to compete with Digg is not to compete with Digg. People will come.
  • Selective outrage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenrod (188428) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:13PM (#24438605)

    Politics is mostly theater, faux outrage, and pandering. Why would a stunt like this cause the average Slashdot reader's blood to boil?

    Because it's the GOP pulling the stunt. I don't recall much scoffing at Dennis Kucinich's attempt to hold impeachment hearings on President Bush. No, I guess that was all about a righteous avenger shining a spotlight on The Greatest Evil Our Planet Has Ever Known.

    These kinds of stunts get the media's attention and some coverage for issues one party or the other thinks is important. The fact that the Democrats didn't even hold a vote on domestic drilling despite overwhelming public support is something that ought to be mocked.

  • by CupBeEmpty (720791) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:15PM (#24438667) Homepage
    Rep. John Culberson of Texas is covering the "blackout" via his Tiwtter account [twitter.com] and on Qik. I like the idea of Congressmen speaking without mics like the 1800s but Twittering away in the darkened chamber (even if it isn't really exactly like that).
  • by MikeD83 (529104) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:23PM (#24438821)
    While I agree the stunt is a little immature I commend them for drawing attention to such an important issue- Nancy Pelosi. She has refused to allow the house to vote on offshore drilling.

    First and foremost, unless the issue involves human rights: such as legalizing rape or murder, the house has a right to vote on it. The people of this country have a right to vote on subjects- that's what makes a democratic republic.

    Second, I am one who feels the price of oil would drop with offshore drilling. It's a simple supply and demand problem. The supply is scarce so the cost rises. This allows oil speculators to raise the price even higher. Oil industry experts believe that oil could reach the market in 3 years; don't believe the 7-15 year nonsense. See 1980s oil glut [wikipedia.org] for how supply and demand effect oil prices.

    Third, I truly believe moving away from oil as a fuel source is the ultimate solution. This will not happen today, tomorrow, or 10 years from now. The correct action today is to unburden the lower class and the economy with the cost of gasoline by increasing oil supply.

    Fourth, anyone who believes that Exxon makes excessive profits is a moron. 11.68 billion on 138.07 billion of revenue- 8.45% profit. That's considered an average profit in the business world.
    • by Hemogoblin (982564) on Friday August 01, 2008 @03:55PM (#24439579)

      It's a simple supply and demand problem. The supply is scarce so the cost rises. This allows oil speculators to raise the price even higher.

      What's up with this "speculation" scapegoat recently? Like you said, oil price is a supply and demand problem: oil future's trading doesn't effect supply or demand since most of the contracts are never physically settled. To quote the Economist, "And since no oil is ever held back from the market, these bets do not affect the price of oil any more than bets on a football match affect the result."

      I bloody hate people who trash futures and the basic derivatives, because these instruments can be extremely helpful for the economy. For example, hedging costs and reducing revenue volatility.

      Read this article [economist.com] on the Economist, and maybe you'll learn something.

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